5 Psychological Strategies for Building a Winning Team Culture
To be an effective leader of a team in the business world, you have to know yourself as well as the strengths, motivations, quirks and downfalls of those working for you. You cannot prompt members of your team to be their most effective to through linear and one-way management. You have to be flexible and take risks yet be conservative when necessary. Most of all you must be someone the members of your team want to work for and impress. Here are five key strategies:
1. Know your own emotions.
To be an efficient leader, you need to know how to manage your emotions. Analyze yourself and identify what your trigger points are. These trigger points will teach you when to act on an emotion and when it's smarter to stay quiet.
Leading a team involves managing a matrix of conflict and balancing measures. You cannot lead effectively unless you can identify the emotions in yourself and members of your team. If you do not know your own emotions, you will not be able to effectively manage the emotions of others. Having understanding and empathy will guide you how to effectively lead others as well as yourself. The the first person to manage is you.
2. Use the mind to manage feelings.
To manage effectively, know that emotions are always more powerful than the mind. When even the most rational people are confronted with intense emotion, they loses the capacity to think straight. Influential leaders understand the power of feelings. They know it is the emotions and not the people they have to lead. Amid the turmoil of events, maintain your presence of mind as a leader.
To establish presence of mind, expose yourself to conflict and learn how to work through the emotions involved to reach a resolution. The more exposed you are to turmoil, the better you will be at seeing the full story and rising above the smallness involved with some emotion. You need to lead your team to see the big picture.
3. Understand the feelings of others.
Emotions follow logical patterns if you know how to examine them. They rise and they fall. When employees' negative emotions are triggered and at their peak, effective management cannot occur and little to no rational thinking can take place. Allow your employees time to calm down and regain composure before you step in.
Should emotions expressing excitement be involved, step in at the peak of their intensity and push hard. This move involves the art of looking beyond the present and calculating ahead. The passage of time can bring learning and presence of mind. The use of timing is a great strategy both for managing conflict and engineering movement.
4. Use emotion to move a team.
Different emotions help people's thinking in different ways. Learn to navigate your own feelings and spot emotions in employees by the signs and patterns that reveal hostility or excitement. Once you have these patterns in mind, be deliberate in how to use that emotion so employees become more deeply motivated.
In this way you can fill your employees with purpose and direction by offering rewards at the end of a win or the close of sale. To ensure continued motivation, be sure you follow through on the rewards offered. Otherwise you will have motivated them to the reward stage but instead built resentment when rewards don't follow as promised. Effective managers live by their word and walk their talk.
4. Channel emotions effectively.
The problem in leading any group is that people inevitably have their own agendas. You have to create an environment in which employees do not feel constrained by your influence yet follow your lead. Create a sense of participation, but do not fall for groupthink so that individual contributions are minimized.
Each person you manage will require something different from you. Motivate each individual in a specific way in an effort to make the whole team better. Lead each individual to do his or her best while encouraging the whole team to seek victory. Teach each person to focus on goal, not to sweat the small stuff of others, and reward each person’s contribution to the whole.
5. Use sentiment to boost morale.
Emotions determine experience and perception. To proficiently manage members of a team, maintain morale by getting them to think less about themselves and more about the group. Involve them in a cause. Let them know how critical the closing of a certain deal will be and how it will affect the company as a whole. The critical elements for building morale are speed and adaptability, the ability to move and make decisions faster than the team and painting that big picture in such a way that employees want nothing more than to have their victory.
Break your team into independent groups of people who can operate on their own. Allow each person to become infused with the spirit of the deal or project at hand, giving that individual a mission to accomplish and then letting him or her run. In this way you transform a goal into a crusade.
Building a winning team culture means managing yourself and others intuitively and intelligently. This requires self-analysis and self-control. Self-analysis enables you to understand yourself and other people. The more a leader knows about emotion the better he or she will be able to guide, inspire and motivate others.
Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.